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“Heaven on Earth. Really.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rancho La Puerta Spa

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Rancho La Puerta Spa
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Carretera A Tijuana Km 5, Tecate 92046-3057, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Tecate
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Heaven on Earth. Really.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013 via mobile

This is my 6th visit in 23 years. There is something for everyone - heavy duty cardio, hammocks to snooze in, water workouts, stretching and relaxation, meditative walks, hard core hiking - and no one cares what you do. You don't have to weigh in or count calories. It's like summer camp for grow ups, but no one telling you what you have to do. You might spend one full day working out in every possible class, the next day you might go for a massage and take a sketch class. If you go with a spouse or friends, you can plan to meet at lunch or dinner, or choose to do all the same activities together. The food is unbelievable, and the chefs will work with you if you have any dietary restrictions. Do not miss the garden breakfast hike, or Wednesday night bingo (with popcorn!). Leave your jewels and make up at home - wear your yoga pants to dinner. You will love this fabulous ranch!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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161 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (58)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sonoma
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

A fabulous place to rejuvenate yourself. Hike, yoga, swim, dance, spa or completely veg out. Your choice! The only decisions you make are completely your own and for you only. The Ranch's activity schedule changes weekly with special activities so it feels like you can tailor the week to your interests. The vegetarian food which includes a fish choice every other night is actually very good. BUT if bored, you can "go over the wall" into Tecate for a meal. The new wine salon with wifi, Bazaar del Sol is a great addition to meet new friends, taste wine or beer, or just hang. The only slight negatives is that several instructors seemed less enthused than previous visits and my friend had a few disappointing spa experiences. That said, mine were pretty darn good but I worked to get the right spa technicians. The featured activity guests (pilates and yoga) were excellent. Don't miss "Bingo with Barry". I am rejuvenated and have already booked next year!

Room Tip: Check out the map and decide if you want to be close to the dining room and activities for the conve...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spokane, Washington
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

I have been to Rancho La Puerta three times, the last being a few years ago. I've always gone in winter, so I don't know what summers are like, as I go north, for much better hiking in summer.

What I like about the ranch: The hiking. Hiking is what I love to do, and while the desert is not my favorite place, it does have some exquisite beauty. The hiking schedule is much more extensive in winter. Apparently the heat, and concern about rattlesnakes, limits hiking to the morning hours in summer. I also like the grounds. They are beautifully landscaped, and there are some cats, a few of which will let you pick them up, so if you are a cat lover, as I am, that's a treat. And the classes are excellent. I participated in yoga, pilates, and aerobics classes, which are offered at various levels. Some of the miscellaneous presentations were also interesting and informative.

What I LOVE about the ranch: The food! The diet there is vegetarian plus fish, which is how I eat at home, so it's the perfect diet for me, and I also believe that it's the most healthy way to eat. And the food is spectacularly delicious. The cooks are really superb. In the dining hall the food is mostly American with a slight Mexican touch, though there are also a few Mexican selections. Breakfast and lunch are served cafeteria style, while supper is served as at a restaurant, with two principal choices each night. Special diets are provided upon advance request. At the cafeteria-style meals, serving suggestions are provided, which if followed will result in a healthy calorie-limited weight-loss diet. I forget the number of calories. However, the choice is yours and you can eat as much or as little as you like.

Another reviewer complained about not getting enough protein, but both fish and dairy are offered, and unless you are vegan you will get plenty of protein. Vegans should put in an advance request for suitable protein.

There is an organic garden at the ranch, with an attached cooking school. Cooking classes are an option at additional cost, and when I took the classes we made several Mexican dishes, which we then ate, making a full meal. There are also occasional opportunities (possibly at extra cost -- I don't remember) to visit the cooking school for a meal, and since the food there is Mexican cuisine, and excellent, I recommend this. The winter hiking program includes one long hike which ends with lunch at the cooking school (not a cooking class; just an outstanding Mexican meal) and then an easy walk back to the ranch. But to participate in this hike you must have participated in the other, shorter hikes, which lead up to it, so they know you can handle the distance.

What I did not like, and why I have not been back in a while: The weather. As I said, I go in winter because I have other plans in summer. And winter in Tecate, while sometimes beautiful, is sometimes rainy. When it rains the hiking trails become slippery and many of the best hikes are dangerous. The outdoor water aerobics classes in the pool are also much less fun in the rain. And while I will not dispute the value for the money, it is one of the most expensive trips, in terms of cost per day overall, that I've taken. Please note that this web site would not allow me to put my actual date, which was February of 2010 or 2011. If 2 or 3 years is too old for an acceptable review, please ignore this one, and the site administrators can remove it if they like.

I did not take the ranch's bus from San Diego. I preferred to pay the hundred bucks each way for a taxi, which is much more comfortable, and allowed me to travel on my schedule rather than waiting for the bus. Someone from the ranch met me on the American side of the border (the taxi driver stayed with me until the ranch's representative arrived) and accompanied me across the border, and then drove me to the ranch. And on departure, someone from the ranch drove me to the border, accompanied me across, and to my waiting taxi.

I cannot comment on the spa treatments. I can get an excellent massage at home cheaper. And I have no interest in the other spa treatments.

I attended their nutritional lecture twice, on different visits, with different presenters. One was based on sound nutritional science, and the other was filled with what I must say was simply nonsense, including the claim that a certain yogi in India lived on air alone. The human body needs food. Any claim to the contrary is an appeal to magic, which is fine in a fantasy novel, but has no place in a lecture on human nutrition, so these lectures are a mixed bag.

Will I go back? Maybe. I have no immediate plans, but I might. I have other plans (much less expensive) for next winter, and I love hiking in British Columbia far too much to go anywhere else in summer. For the best food ever, some great classes, and wonderful hiking when the weather permits, I could go back. But the cost might keep me away.

Room Tip: Some rooms are far from the center of activity, forcing you to walk a lot. This can be good or bad d...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013 via mobile

This trip to the Ranch was my fifth and won't be my last.. Going there is like going to a favorite camp when you were a child...but with a lot less structure and healthier food. Because of the wide variety of exercise classes, hikes and activities you could be busy every minute- but you don't have to be. A perfect Ranch day for me is taking a morning hike (the breakfast hike to the farm/cooking school is my personal favorite ), a stretch class or yoga, Pilates or circuit training, lunch, water aerobics, and, the rest of the afternoon at the spa.

Ranching La Puerta is an easy 45 min. drive from SanDiego airport where you are met and transported through customs and onto the ranch in Tecate. The grounds are expansive and beautiful- even the smells are soothing due to the many beds of flowers and herbs. The casitas are clean and cozy with a fireplace and comfy couch and chairs to curl up on.

Almost everyone you meet is a returnee and first timers quickly become converts.something else I noticed was that everyone brings someone special to share the experience with. I've gone with my husband and other times with my daughters. I've seen 3 generations taking yoga together and girlfriend reunions.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

We just returned from a week at Rancho la Puerta. My husband and I had never been to a spa before and were incredibly lucky to spend a glorious week with around 120 or so other guests-many of whom were returning for the 20th, 30th or in one case 65th time.
All reviews that I read on Tripadvisor were accurate but don't prepare you for the tranquil beauty of the place. We stayed in the Sol section of the resort, and I also liked the Luna section.
Food was fresh and appropriately spa like and since most guests stay from Saturday to Saturday we got to know many as we congregated for meals.
About 20% of the guests were male and there were lots of mothers with their adult daughters, a great getaway.
All the classes were great, and the trick is to leave enough time to relax and enjoy just being there. You can start with a 6AM hike and go all day if you wish, or you can chill by the pool and gaze at the mountain..
So for a true getaway that enriches your mind, spirit and body-this is the place. Authentic, welcoming and dedicated to the health of all who are lucky enough to spend time there.

Room Tip: Sol or Luna section. Check out the map and try to find a room facing the mountain.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

If you want to check out of life for a while and get healthy this is definitely the place to do it. "The Ranch" is magical, truly it is. It is located just below the San Diego Border (East of TJ) and it is very SAFE and quiet. It's a place to come alone, with friends or spouse/partner. You feel welcome from minute one and well taken care of inside and out. The rooms have NO TV, NO WIFI and connect with the outside world in a common area (that has wifi and phones) if you choose to. The grounds are heavenly and the program is geared to physical and mental health with fitness classes, several swimming pools, art classes, lectures, spa treatments, hikes (the hike to the organic garden and breakfast is awesome), meditation, yoga and on and on.... The FOOD is organic, healthy, clean nourishment for your body. No alcohol (except Friday night) but you can bring in your own if you wish. The idea is to cleanse you body, mind and spirit. If you want to really get away and rejuvenate your soul this is the place, look no further. The entire staff from maintenance people, food prep, spa, fitness instructors, tennis coaches, EVERYONE is A+++++ there. You need to experience this place once to be hooked and I guarantee you will be back over and over and over again.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Upstate New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

The Ranch is the best spa. Period. The program and environment balance tranquility and spiritual inspiration with fitness. The staff, especially the fitness instructors are the best in the world, and extend themselves with personal support and direction.

But the most important thing is the natural beauty and the way its been respected by every architectural and decorating choice. I've been horrified by some spas where the guest rooms might be better suited to a roadside motel, or the campus backs onto a parking lot for an outlet mall. The Ranch is absolutely beautiful. Perfect.

Room Tip: NO bad rooms. Tell the reservationist about any special needs (I can't walk too far) and they w...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rancho La Puerta Spa

Address: Carretera A Tijuana Km 5, Tecate 92046-3057, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Norte > Tecate
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Tecate
Number of rooms: 84
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The world's first fitness resort established in 1940, this spa is located right across the border in Mexico and is nestled on 3,000 private acres of rolling terrain. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rancho La Puerta Hotel Tecate
Rancho La Puerta Tecate

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